Doomtree, Solid Gold, and Vampire Hands deftly dot Minneapolis's music timeline in '08

Crack open our Twin Cities Local Music Yearbook and reminisce on an effed-up year

Native Minneapolitan Matthew Santos returns to his hometown a "superstar." With his vocals prominently featured in Lupe Fiasco's hit "Superstar," Santos is invited on the road with Lupe as part of Kanye West's "Glow in the Dark" tour. The day after his hometown show at the Target Center, Santos tells City Pages that it was "definitely by far one of the craziest concerts of this tour. I used to see, like, Disney on Ice at this place—I couldn't believe I was performing on that stage. You could just feel the love from Minneapolis."

After being out of print for a year, Rift Magazine resurfaces. The free zine features local music reviews by freelance writers and compiles articles from online publications such as, Reveille Magazine, and Perfect Porridge.

Local thrash metal bandleader Chris Johnson is stabbed to death at a party in Bloomington, Indiana, where Johnson's band Useless Wooden Toys is performing. The AP reports that Johnson is killed "allegedly by a man he tried to stop from groping a woman." Still wounded from the news of Earl Root's death in May, the local metal scene bands together once again to throw a series of fundraisers for Johnson's family and mourn another tragic loss.


New Foo Jessy Greene
Steven Cohen
New Foo Jessy Greene
Cloud Cult bassist Shawn Neary
Stacy Schwartz
Cloud Cult bassist Shawn Neary

Local garage rock staples Ol' Yeller disband. Never one to rest on his laurels, lead singer and producer Rich Mattson quickly forms another band, the Tisdales, and releases a new album by the end of the year. Though Ol' Yeller is no more, Mattson insists its members will continue to make music. "All of the guys who played in Ol' Yeller are all still great friends to me, and we'll find things to do in the future, maybe with guitars, maybe without," writes Mattson. "Maybe with power tools. Maybe with paddles and fishing rods. Probably with a beer."

Paul Westerberg releases a new "album" online for 49 cents, which is available as one 43-minute-and-55-second track inexplicably titled 49:00. The album features tons of cross-fading, distortion, and overlapping, as well as a handful of downright heartbreaking and brilliantly composed pop songs. In the following weeks, Westerberg releases another three tracks online-only, including "3oclockcreep" and "Bored of Edukation."

In other 'Mats news, Rhino reissues Tim, Pleased to Meet Me, Don't Tell a Soul, and All Shook Down, complete with bonus tracks. And Westerberg and Stinson head back into the studio with drummer Michael Bland and guitar player Jim Boquist, igniting rumors (once again) of a possible 'Mats reunion.

St. Paul's Eclipse Records unveils its new in-store music venue and amps up its efforts to provide underage kids with a cool place to check out live music. The store celebrates the opening of its 170-capacity music venue by booking a Headlights show that is only open to those under 21 years of age.


Local drummer Steve Foley, best known for his time spent in the Replacements, passes away at the age of 49. In Jim Walsh's Replacements oral history All Over but the Shouting, Foley is quoted as saying, "Some days I walk down the street and go, 'God, I was in that [expletive] band?' Unbelievable. It is." Aside from his one-year stint with the Replacements, he also drummed with Wheelo, Snaps, Bang Zoom, Trailer Trash, Things That Fall Down, the Suprees, and Curtiss A. At Curtiss A's annual John Lennon Tribute at the end of the year, he dedicates "In My Life" to Foley's memory.

Doomtree reigns supreme:

  • The hip-hop collective plays a sold-out show at First Avenue on the first of the month in honor of its first full-crew full-length album, simply titled Doomtree. The album is received warmly at home, spends three weeks at No. 1 on the CMJ hip-hop charts, and receives a 6.0 on Pitchfork. The release show for Doomtree kicks off a flurry of Doomtree crew solo releases: Cecil Otter releases Rebel Yellow at the end of August, followed by Mike Mictlan and Lazerbeak's Hand Over Fist in September.
  • In late August, McNally Smith College of Music hires Doomtree's Dessa Darling as a part-time instructor, teaching composition. The popular MC and poet also found time to complete her own book of poetry, which is released at the Doomtree Blowout in December, the second sold-out Mainroom show in a year for the unstoppable crew. The group also releases its first DVD of live performances at the Blowout.
  • In December, Doomtree's P.O.S. announces that his next solo album, Never Better will be released February 3.


The RNC crashes into town, and local bands hold their own amidst the mayhem. Fog's Andrew Broder throws an "Eight Is Enough" Obama fundraiser at the Turf Club just days before the RNC, featuring a star-studded local lineup of Low, Dosh, P.O.S., Kill the Vultures, STNNNG, Skoal Kodiak, and members of Tapes 'n Tapes. Atmosphere headlines an outdoor show benefitting the union SEIU, while local music writer-musician Jim Walsh curates a hootenanny with Billy Bragg, Ike Reilly, and Tom Morello.

Semisonic reunites again to play the River Rocks Festival at Harriet Island, inviting thousands to congregate on a warm late-summer evening and wave their beers in the air to "Closing Time." Across town on the same night, Soul Asylum plays an exclusive benefit show and charges $150 per ticket. Ouch.


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